Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Take Momentum West GT and DP To Run Separate Races Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) and GT teams are headed west to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for round five of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal...
Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Take Momentum West
GT and DP To Run Separate Races
Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) and GT teams are headed west to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for round five of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve to be run on May 19 and 20. Once again GT and DP cars will race in separate events.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will play host to 10 Pontiac powered DP cars and three Pontiac GXP.R GT racers. The Laguna Seca layout features 11-turns over 2.2-miles. The DP and GT will have to negotiate the famous Cork Screw turn perched on top the hill overlooking paddock.
Pontiac is carrying a perfect 2007 Rolex Series DP pole qualifying streak of four in a row. The pole positions are being shared by three teams, and three drivers. Colin Braun in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley took the pole in Mexico City and at Virginia International Raceway. Jan Magnussen in the No. 10 SunTrust entry had the lead spot at Homestead. Alex Gurney led the field to the green at the Rolex 24.
Alex Gurney has additional motivation for the weekend, his Father, Dan Gurney will be honored as one of the first inductees into the Legends of Laguna Seca walk of fame helping to celebrate the tracks 50th Anniversary.
"We are excited to get back to Laguna, I started with GAINSCO there two-years ago and we were fast out of the box," Alex Gurney said. "We were close to winning the race last year and came second, hopefully we can improve that by one this week. I have great memories there of going to see my Father's GTP cars race in the 90s. Jon and I know the circuit well and our prospects for our second win look pretty good."
The No. 10 SunTrust Wayne Taylor Racing team was ready for new shoe Pedro Lamy to join the team, but Jan Magnussen will continue his driving duties at Laguna Seca. The Portuguese driver, Lamy, will partner Max Angelelli later in the season.
"Jan will run with us at Laguna," Taylor, team owner, said. "Pedro Lamy was scheduled to drive, but a conflict kept him from joining us. Pedro will be in the car at Daytona, Barber and Infineon. We won Laguna last year with Max and Jan and we are looking to repeat this weekend. We are leading the points now and we need to keep up the intensity. The competition is really strong, so we have to run mistake free. We need to keep the pressure on at the front."
Nic Jonsson and his No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley team are coming off a tumultuous round at Virginia International Raceway. Jonsson and team owner/driver Tracy Krohn were penalized by series officials for using tires assigned to the team's No. 75 Pontiac Riley that was co-driven to a second-place result by Colin Braun and Max Papis. After the race, however, the team and officials determined that no advantage was gained through the mistake, and Krohn and Jonsson were reinstated to 10th place in the final standings.
"We had a great car at Laguna Seca last year and then Tracy got hit going into turn one," Jonsson said. "We have improved the car quite a bit since last year. I have big hopes going into this week's race. The rules that came into affect at Virginia with the 45-minute must pit rule will only help us throughout the season. At Laguna the car needs to be good in turn four, six, nine and 11. The high-speed corners are critical and getting a good launch off of 11 to get down the straight is also key. We need to get the front to turn and manage our tires at the same time."
Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins will be looking for a repeat podium finish at Laguna Seca. The duo fell into a podium at Virginia and want to keep the momentum going. Grand-Am officials have made a competition adjustment going into the Laguna race, a 2.5% percent weight increase for the Porsche and Mazda competitors will hopefully make the GT field a little more crowded at the front.
"Last year in the GTO.R we were battling for a podium and had contact with a DP car to finish fourth," Edwards said. "The Mazda cars have been dominant and the Porsches have been fast, with the Grand-Am competition adjustment after VIR it should be a little more even at the front. The change was subtle, but it should get us in the neighborhood. Kelly is always good at Laguna and I really like the track so we have as good a chance as anyone in the GT field to be competitive this week."
Tim Lewis and Leighton Reese in the No. 06 Pontiac GXP.R are heading to California looking to follow-up their run at Virginia with another top 10 finish.
"The weight adjustment is a step in the right direction." Reese said. "We have been working on the old No. 06. The GXP.R has high sides and we have had visibility issues in the past races, so we raised the seat and made a few other driver comfort tweaks. I had the pole and track record there in World Challenge last year in my Corvette, so I am anxious to get back to Laguna. I am really optimistic that we will be a little closer to the fight upfront this weekend. I need a good race and Laguna is a good track for me."
-credit: gm racing